The Commission on 27 January 2011 published a Green Paper for the purposes of seeking submissions from stakeholders on the modernisation of EU public procurement policy. Submissions must be submitted by 18 April 2011. The backdrop of the Green Paper is the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and the appetite among stakeholders for increased efficiency and effectiveness in EU public procurement policy.

The Europe 2020 strategy specifically calls for procurement policy to improve framework conditions for business to innovate, encourage and accommodate resource efficient and low – carbon economies and improvement of the business environment, particularly for innovative small to medium enterprises.

The Green Paper asks 114 questions on a range of procurement issues broadly categorised as follows:

  • The public procurement rules and their purpose;
  • The need for a more flexible procedural framework and possible changes;
  • Improving accessibility of the European procurement market with a particular focus on SMEs;
  • How public procurement can be used to further "societal" strategic goals of Europe 2020 such as increased innovation, combating climate change and improved public health and social conditions;
  • Development of mechanisms to prevent unsound business practices such as conflict of interest, favouritism and corruption;
  • Access of third country suppliers to the EU Market.

The Green Paper is published in parallel with the Commission's evaluation of the impact and cost – effectiveness of the current policy on public procurement, results of which are to be published in the summer of 2011. The Green Paper submissions, coupled with the results of the evaluation, will lead to a proposal for legislative reform.